Pretzel Bread

Photo pending! I didn’t have a chance to snap one as I was whisking these out the door…

In Season 2 of Fargo, the Gerhardt’s kitchen is fascinating to me. It’s colored in icy, impersonal tones (I very much enjoy Tom and Lorenzo’s color theories) yet the racks of freshly baked bread are generally warm and inviting. The way they are used in the story is two-sided two, the offering of bread is at once maternal and threatening.

These loaves are drama-fraught, but pretty tasty, so if you’re feeling both violent and cozy this is a good recipe for you.

Pretzel Bread

Adapted from With Salt and Wit

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat milk until comfortably warm to touch (not hot, will kill yeast). Stir in butter, sugar, and yeast and let it proof for 10 minutes or so.

In a large bowl, measure out 2 1/2 cups flour and add salt. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and mix until it starts to form a dough. Add more flour little by little until it comes together in a ball, then pour out onto a floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes, adding a little flour as necessary if it gets too sticky to handle. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, punch down the dough, knead slightly and form into two equal sized balls.

Preheat oven to 400° Bring water and baking soda to a boil. One at a time, boil each of the balls for two minutes each side, and remove to an oiled baking sheet.

Brush with egg and slice crossways on the top of each loaf. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° to continue baking for another 10-12 minutes until loaves are evenly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 27: Fargo

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